Can I Use Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?

We’re all used to using aluminum foil in all sorts of cooking ways. Lining the pan? Baking a cake? Salmon? Leg of lamb? Casserole? Foil all the way.

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Toaster oven baked fish

Guess what – it may not be a good idea to use it in a toaster oven. At least not in any toaster oven, and not without precautions. Many manufacturers explictly say in the manual that your toaster oven may malfunction or even catch on fire if you use foil in it. Others still allow it but under certain conditions.

The Problem

So what is the problem with aluminum foil in an oven or toaster oven?

  • Heat. First of all, foil conducts and reflects a lot of heat. That’s what we want though, right? Wrong – it can heat up your toaster oven over the allowed temperature limit, and it may break, melt the counter above it or even set the house on fire. I’m not kidding. It’s not safe to use foil to cover the drip tray, either – the grease may also catch on fire if it heats up too much. If you cover the crumb tray, the air won’t circulate properly, leading to (again) overheating.
  • Sparks. If you don’t cut foil exactly the size of the pan and it touches one of the heating elements, it may spark, catch on fire or melt and stick to it, ruining your toaster oven.

What About My toaster Oven?

Start with the manual. It should specifically mention instructions concerning the use of foil. Here are some big brands’ takes on foil:

Silpat with macarons

What To Do

  • Replace foil with a Silpat. Silpats are great. They are reusable, ecofriendly and sturdy. You’ll never need to go back to aluminum. But maybe it’s just me.
  • Use foil, but carefully. If your recipe specifically calls for covering or wrapping something in foil, do the following. Cut it so that it doesn’t touch anything in the toaster oven: walls, ceiling or floor of the cavity, heating elements. Do not cover the broiling rack or the crumb tray. No loose ends. Stick to heavy duty aluminum foil. Replace the foil every time you cook. Fire – bad.
  • Use bakeware. I have a list of stone bakeware that I recommend, as well as bakeware sets in my Toaster Oven Accessory Buying Guide.
  • Go barebones and simply lightly oil the pan before use. Here’s my guide on how to clean the toaster oven!

I hope this was helpful.

Stay safe,

G.

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